To continue from an earlier post on our Quincy legal issues blog, we’ll now take a look at a few common options for consolidating debt: consolidation loans and credit card balance transfers. The information is intended to be general in nature only, not as specific legal advice.

A debt consolidation loan is a loan that you use to pay off multiple other debts, so that you can make just the one monthly payment on your debt consolidation loan instead of numerous payments across credit cards and other debts. Debt consolidation loans often offer low interest rates. They also may offer lower monthly payments because the payments are spread out over a longer period of time.

Borrowers do have to be careful of a few things when considering a consolidation loan. A low interest rate might be set to expire after a certain introductory amount of time, which could leave them with a large loan balance at a now-unreasonable interest rate. And while a longer payoff period can mean lower monthly payments, it will likely mean more money paid overall — perhaps thousands more — than you would have had to pay otherwise.

Contrast this with the fresh financial start that borrowers can achieve through bankruptcy. In bankruptcy, relief comes almost immediately, through the automatic stay. There is no question of changing interest rates or hidden payments. Still, it’s good to have options when seeking debt relief, and for some, a debt consolidation loan may be worth considering. We’ll look at another option — credit card balance transfers — in a follow up post.

Source: CFPB.gov, “What do I need to know if I’m thinking about consolidating my credit card debt?,” accessed on April 27, 2018